‘Tis the season for witches, pumpkins and candy. Get into the spirit with spooktacular events leading up to All Hallows’ Eve. From a train extravaganza to a haunted trail, we’ve dug up 12 great ones to fill your calendar all month long.


photo: Melanie via Flickr

SeaWorld Halloween Spooktacular
Join SeaWorld in October for a Halloween bash every weekend. The sea animal theme park will be adding Halloween-themed shows including performances by some friendly sea lions and otters and by Sesame Street favorites. Trick-or-treat bags will be provided and there will even be Dia de los Muertos activities for those interested in the holiday.

Dates: Sept. 24-25, Oct. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30
Cost: Varies; Kids ages 3-9 free with paid adult admission

500 Sea World Dr.
San Diego, Ca
Online: seaworldparks.com/seaworld-sandiego/Events/Halloween-Spooktacular/


Photo: Belmont Park Facebook page

BOOmont Park
The rumble of the roller coaster may sound eerie at this beach front’s fall festival weekends in October. If you haven’t already, you can pick out a pumpkin from Belmont’s patch and create some holiday bling to add to this year’s costumes. A visit to Belmont Park during the summer may be marked as a fun, ice cream licking day at the shore, but the sounds of the rides and arcade games just might remind you of the movie Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Dates: Oct. 1-2, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30
Cost: Varies depending on chosen activity

3146 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, Ca
Online: belmontpark.com/boomontpark/

The Pumpkin Express
Take a trip to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum for a spooky choo choo extravaganza. The wheels will steam through the mountains and deposit you back at the museum for more activities. The Display Building will be decked out with pumpkins, haunted trains and various creepy creatures. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance.

Dates: Oct. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30
Cost: $5 – $18/person

750 Depot St.
Campo, Ca
Online: psrm.org/pumpkin/


photo: Alik Griffin via Flickr

Tour the Whaley House with older kids
San Diego’s first two-story brick building is offering numerous haunts throughout October. Halloween time visits to this stately Old Town home are best suited for those 12 & up and those who are willing to hear spooky tales. Join the San Diego Ghost Hunters for a night as you participate in a paranormal investigation or visit on Halloween night for a mature evening out.

Dates: Check website for dates to corresponding event
Cost: $15 – $50/person

2476 San Diego Ave.
San Diego, Ca
Online: whaleyhouse.org

Balboa Park Haunted Trail
This is not your usual leisurely stroll through Balboa Park. The tall trees in the park will seem to crook their finger-like limbs at you and an eerie breeze will make the hair on your neck stand up as it whistles around you. Not for the faint of heart and certainly not for those under 10, the chilling trail gives enough fright to make you appreciate getting into your car at the end of the night.

Dates: Oct. 1-2, 5-9, 12-16, 19-31
Cost: $25 – $37/person

6th & Juniper in Balboa Park
San Diego, Ca
Online: hauntedtrail.net


Photo credit: The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater Facebook page

Halloween Puppet Show
The Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater has a winter program with three Halloween performances on its slate. The just over 200 seat Balboa Park children’s theater provides an intimate setting, but it’s unpretentious enough to accept a child’s cry and need to stretch their legs. Your young ones will giggle and say “oh my!” as a cast of Halloween characters perform age appropriate creepy stories.

Dates: Oct. 12-16, 19-23, 26-30
Cost: $0 – $5/person

2130 Pan American Rd.
San Diego, Ca
Online: balboaparkpuppets.com

Haunted Tales Star of India
Feel the rock of the harbor beneath your feet and take note of every creek during your time aboard downtown’s iron-hulling sailing ship. Built in 1863, you’ll be told tales by lantern light from its 153-year-old history. These tales are creepy and true or not, you’re not likely to hear these stories during its daytime operating hours. Be sure to bring a sweater because if the harbor air doesn’t chill you, the stories will.

Date: Oct. 29
Cost: $0 – $43/person

1492 North Harbor Dr.
San Diego, Ca
Online: sdmaritime.org/visit/public-events/haunted-tales/


Photo: Phae via Flickr

Halloween Cooking Party
The Macy’s at Mission Valley will be conducting a Halloween-themed cooking party. Hosted just two days before All Hallows’ Eve, your aspiring Halloween Baking Championship competitors will get another chance to wear their costumes as they whip up some treats worth sharing. Since this event is free and since a food-related prize will be awarded to the best costume, make sure to register in advance.

Date: Oct. 29
Cost: Free

1702 Camino Del Rio North
San Diego, Ca
Online: eventbrite.com/e/macys-presents-a-kids-halloween-cooking-party-tickets-27553804170

San Diego Botanic Garden
This multi-garden property in Encinitas will host a festival with a nugget for the entire family. In costume or not, kids can participate in typical fall activities like pumpkin painting and Halloween crafts, but in a lush setting. Come with an appetite for some down on the farm cooking and stay long enough to hear Little Catbird perform.

Date: Oct. 29
Cost: $0 – $14/person

230 Quail Gardens Dr.
Encinitas, Ca
Online: sdbgarden.org/index.html

Gather the family at Balboa Park
If you have kids at home who are not yet ready for Balboa Park’s Haunted Trail, take them to the urban park’s Halloween Family Day instead. We may be in a drought, but pumpkins will rain down courtesy of the San Diego Air & Space Museum and the animals at the zoo might be expecting a visit since their ears have picked up that its Kids Free October. More than 24 museums will have a slew of themed activities for the costumed culture seekers and you might even spot a little Oscar similar to the pup from the children’s book Hallo-Wiener at the pup costume contest.

Date: Oct. 29
Cost: Free

2131 Pan American Plaza
San Diego, Ca
Online: balboapark.org/halloweenfamilyday


photo: Grossmont Center Facebook page

Let’s get spooky at the mall
If you’re around La Mesa consider visiting Grossmont Center for its annual Halloween festivities. This year’s theme will be reminiscent of a Halloween carnival with prizes given away from Star 92.1 and KGB 101.5. Kids can get their faces painted, strut their costume for both a costume contest and parade and take some creepy photos in a holiday themed photo booth. The Center’s Spooktacular offers activities for kids of all ages and they can plan to return Halloween night for some trick-or-treating.

Date: Oct. 29
Cost: Free

5500 Grossmont Center Dr.
La Mesa, Ca
Online: grossmontcenter.com

Party at the Del
The landmark hotel in Coronado that’s rumored to be haunted is throwing a rip-roaring bash that’s including trick-or-treaters ages 4-12. You and your date will rock out like Max Dennison’s parents while your minis are treated to a special party of their own. This event is a bit of a splurge, but it will make for a memorable event that can only take place on the island.

Date: Oct. 29
Cost: $50 – $150/person

1500 Orange Ave.
San Diego, Ca
Online: hoteldel.com/events/hallowine/

What spooky events should we add to our October calendar?

— Jeannette Swanson

featured photo:  Synergy Communications